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John Updike Elected to National Institute of Arts and Letters

April 1, 1964
April 1, 1964

John Updike Elected to National Institute of Arts and Letters

On this day in 1964, John Updike was at 32 the youngest person elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Updike wrote more than 60 books — novels, poetry, drama, essays, memoirs, and...

Benjamin Franklin Introduces "Silence Dogood"

April 2, 1722
April 2, 1722

Benjamin Franklin Introduces "Silence Dogood"

On this day in 1722, the Boston paper The Courant first published a letter from a widow with a keen wit and a gift for satire. Every few weeks, another letter from "Silence Dogood" appeared....

Boston Minister Tried for Inciting a Riot

April 3, 1855
April 3, 1855

Boston Minister Tried for Inciting a Riot

On this day in 1855, the case against Boston minister Theodore Parker came to trial. Charged with inciting an abolitionist riot, he defended himself by describing the horrors of slavery. He told the dramatic story...

Boston Mourns Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 4, 1968
April 4, 1968

Boston Mourns Martin Luther King, Jr.

On this day in 1968, Boston crackled with tension. African Americans, enraged by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, took to the streets. Community leaders urged calm, police showed restraint, and while...

H.L. Mencken Arrested in Boston

April 5, 1926
April 5, 1926

H.L. Mencken Arrested in Boston

On this day in 1926, reporter and literary critic H.L. Mencken was arrested on Boston Common for selling a magazine that had been banned by the New England Watch and Ward Society, the city's self-appointed...

Babysitter Wins Lottery Jackpot

April 6, 1999
April 6, 1999

Babysitter Wins Lottery Jackpot

On this day in 1999, Maria Grasso of Boston won what was then the largest payoff to a single individual in an American lottery — $197,000,000. An immigrant from Chile, Grasso had arrived in the...

Puritans Leave for Massachusetts

April 7, 1630
April 7, 1630

Puritans Leave for Massachusetts

On this day in 1630, the last well-wishers stepped off the ship Arbella and returned to shore. More than a week after the vessel first set out, the winds were finally favorable. The ship weighed...

Reading Launches Favorite Poem Project

April 8, 1998
April 8, 1998

Reading Launches Favorite Poem Project

On this day in 1998, 25 Bostonians, including the president of the Massachusetts Senate, a homeless man, and a fifth grade student, recited their favorite poems to a packed auditorium at the Boston Public Library....

Harvard Students Occupy University Hall

April 9, 1969
April 9, 1969

Harvard Students Occupy University Hall

On this day in 1969, Harvard students took over University Hall, one of the college's oldest buildings. Opposed to the escalating war in Vietnam, the protesters demanded Harvard end its Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or...

Frances Perkins Born in Boston

April 10, 1880
April 10, 1880

Frances Perkins Born in Boston

On this day in 1880, Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a cabinet position, was born in Boston. Raised in Worcester, she attended Mt. Holyoke College, where she became committed to improving the lot...

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